CLOUD COMPUTING: ItÂ’s Not Magic, Just Evolution
Recent Gauteng Business News
Â“IT Managers and CIOÂ’s need to remember that there is no Â‘magicÂ’ in the cloud as such, the cloud in reality is the evolution of infrastructure, platforms and software which can now be reliably delivered in a flexible, scalable way using a combination of hardware virtualisation technologies, software as a service and the Internet as the underlying enabler,Â” says Halse.
At the Â‘other endÂ’ of the cloud are real companies and people, with infrastructure and intellectual property investments who are seeking to offer differentiated services to their customers in new, innovative ways. Â“The challenge for the CIO is to identify those service providers that will add business value, either through substantial cost reductions in IT infrastructure, or in value added services relevant to the companyÂ’s industry and business model.Â”
Optimizing Cloud Opportunities
Halse says the first opportunity is cost reduction which will be readily achieved by companies like the large telecommunications providers, who can leverage off existing infrastructure investments and combine this with commoditised computing resources, dramatically reducing the underlying cost of computing. These commodity services will compete, as always, on price and service level. This is familiar ground for the CIO.
The second opportunity, value added services, is more difficult. While there are many Â“appsÂ” already in the cloud, most of these are hardly enterprise ready, and on inspection have only superficial capabilities. Many of the established specialised software vendors are still one step back from migrating deep application capabilities into the cloud. In time this will happen, but until then there will be a level of risk when selecting vendors based on their Â‘cloud credentialsÂ’. Halse says that for many, this risk is still too high.
Understanding the Value of the Cloud
There are many opportunities for IT service providers to re-position their value propositions to take into consideration these developments. Value adding services that can be provided by local providers to assist companies realise cloud value include consulting, system integration, service aggregation, service level management, end user training, business improvement projects and so on.
HalseÂ’s advice to CIOÂ’s is to see cloud as an evolution of the outsourcing model. Â“The key is to proactively build strategic relationships with those established specialised service providers who are well positioned to ensure that these disruptive technologies ultimately enhance your business.Â”
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